If there has been anything positive in the tragic news stories of domestic violence and abuse over the last few years, it’s that women are tired of not being heard. We are ready to tell our stories, no matter the consequences.
We will not be silent anymore.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou
Terrible things have been done to us as a gender, and in the past, we’ve been afraid to come forward and tell the truth. It seems the tides are turning. With greater numbers of us putting our fears for retribution aside, we are telling our stories. There is strength in numbers.
When we, as women, say, “I’m not okay with this. I refuse to let my silence equal my acceptance any longer,” it does not mean we are bitter about what happened. In fact, it’s the opposite.
We refuse to let what happened to us define us or control our future. Telling our story of domestic violence is a part of our healing. Honestly, I don’t think there can be true healing without hashing out the raw feelings and letting go of the shame of it all.
Hang on ladies, there is still so far to go.
Unfortunately, the stigma attached to being a victim of rape or domestic violence causes many women to second guess the risk to report. I, for one, am hopeful this is changing. The continued news coverage, including Twitter’s trending hashtags: #metoo, #WhyIDidntReport, #WhyILeft, and #WhyIStayed are all movements I can stand behind. Each woman’s story is unique and worth knowing.
I will continue to advocate for victims and their right to feel safe and supported, for their right to not live in constant fear. And you should too.
Our children’s future depends on it.
So many families are being torn apart these days. The way we raise our children can either help change those statistics or continue the disheartening trend.
Moms, you have the power.
Take a stand against domestic violence and abuse.
Teach your children about consent. Early and often.
Your son needs to know how to respect a girl’s right to say no.
Your daughter needs to be able to speak up if she is uncomfortable with any situation she may be in.
Never shame a child for coming to you with a concern.
Always lead by example looking for ways to bring up this conversation naturally. If you fail to take advantage of a moment, apologize and use it as a teaching moment.
Speak up if your friends or family members do or say something that makes you or your children feel uncomfortable.
Be your child’s biggest advocate.
Teach your children about “tricky people” rather than “stranger danger”.
Make sure your children know the only secrets adults should be telling them to keep are happy ones, like birthday presents or surprise parties. Never ones that make anyone feel shameful, or to cover something up.
Let your children know if something happens to them, it’s never their fault, and they should tell someone. No matter what.
I truly believe we can make a difference.
I believe we can continue to move forward on our journey to empower those who have been mistreated. It’s up to us, Moms, to raise men who won’t abuse their power over women, and women who stand up for their right to feel safe and unconditionally loved.